When I get bored at work, I play the “Guess the Guest Game”. It seems that at every wedding I do, guests can be broken down into discernible categories:
The Single Guy: He’s there for one reason, and one reason only: the booze. He sits in the last row during the ceremony and is the first in line at the cocktail hour bar. As soon as he enters the reception, he sheds his jacket and congregates with the rest of the Single Guys. He never respects the seating arrangement and instead drags his chair over to where his buddies are. When dinner is over and the dancing starts, he heads over to the bar, tips the bartender a few bucks, and orders him to “keep ’em coming”. He ogles the New Relationship blonde all night and passes out on a banquet table, his face in a slice of cake.
The New Relationship couple: This couple is usually HOT (to borrow the very eloquent Hiltonian expression). The guy is a metrosexual, strutting into the reception hall late (because ceremonies are so yesterday) and sitting close to the bar. The woman on his arm, nine times out of ten, is a long-haired blonde. She has an amazing body: long legs, firm arms and perky breasts, and her dress choice is better suited for a South Beach night club than a wedding. It shows off every curve and leaves little to the imagination. She wears very high-heeled stilettos and not only manages to walk confidently, but also dances all night. In most situations, he’s a friend of the groom (a former Single Guy) and this is the first time his girl is meeting his posse. This couple blends into the background during dinner, not paying attention to the toasts or the cake cutting. However, as soon as the dancing starts they take over the dance floor with their sultry moves, and bump and grind in front of the videographer. Grandparents look on in horror while the Single Guys cast knowing glances at each other. Months later, the irate bride will demand they be edited out of the final version of the video.
The Newlyweds: I’m not talking about the bride and groom. The Newlyweds are friends of the bride or the groom who just recently tied the knot, perhaps in the past month or two. They look harmless enough, but in their heads they’re checking out every detail of the wedding to see how theirs measured up. The guy is still a gentleman, pulling out the chair for his new wife and covering her shoulders with his suit jacket if she gets cold. The woman still looks after herself, but her dress choice is slightly more conservative than when they were dating. The couple sticks together for most of the evening and they dance only with each other. The woman looks smug, showing off her still-sparkly engagement ring and wedding band to everyone at their table. The guy, on the other hand, casts longing looks at the Single Guys gathered around the bar.
The “been-dating-forever-when-is-it-my-turn” couple: These two have been together for years, but the guy still hasn’t gotten up the nerve to propose. They spend a large part of the evening apart; he hangs out with the Single Guys by the bar and loudly reminds the groom that “it’s too late to back out now”. She sits next to The Newlyweds and “ooohs” and “ahhhs” while inspecting the wedding bands and hearing about their wedding and honeymoon. When the groom tosses the garter, the “been-dating-forever” guy hides in the bathroom. When the bouquet is tossed, his girlfriend is right in the middle of the pack of Single Girls. As the flowers fly through the air, her expression changes from expectant joy to crushing defeat when the New Relationship girl stretches out her thin, toned arm and dashes any hope of bringing up the topic of marriage for the foreseeable future… At least until the next wedding.
The Pregos: Weddings and pregnancies among groups of friends tend to come in waves. Therefore, it’s not unusual to have three or four pregnant women at one wedding. The Prego waddles into the reception hall in her short polka-dotted dress with puffy sleeves and a little bow marking the division between her breasts and her belly. She makes a big show of ordering a bottle of water and freaks out if the waiter accidentally pours a thimble-full of champagne into her flute. She never dances, but instead watches from the sidelines, absent-mindedly rubbing her expanding belly. Her husband sits quietly by her side, playing the “protective man” role but silently ruminating that just because she can’t drink, it shouldn’t mean that he has to abstain as well. They go home early because she’s tired, and he looks back longingly at all that was and will never be again.
The New Parents: They were told that the wedding was for adults only, but their child is special and therefore obviously exempt from the rule. The father has to carry the child out halfway through the ceremony because the baby decided to make his wet diaper discomfort known at the exact moment the bride and groom were exchanging vows. The mother wears a Laura Ashley dress with flat shoes and a ponytail. If it’s an evening wedding, she’ll wear a shapeless shift dress that falls below her knees. With flat shoes and a ponytail. The New Parents walks into the reception armed with enough supplies to keep a dozen babies comfortable during a weekend at Disneyland. The father pushes the stroller and the mother carries the baby bag, and they inevitably choose to park themselves in the area with the most waiter traffic. The mother will request items that are impossible to procure in a busy catering kitchen, including (but not limited to): baby formula (not brought by them) warmed to body temperature, apple sauce, and Cheerios. The father will nurse his alloted beer throughout dinner, and they’ll depart as soon as the dancing starts because it’s past the baby’s bedtime.
The Single Girl: She’s a friend of the bride and has more bridesmaid dresses than she cares to count. She runs around lighting candles, fixing centerpieces, and making herself useful, hoping that the charitable acts she performs now will cancel out any faux pas caused by the massive amounts of alcohol she plans on consuming later. She wears sensible shoes and switches to flip-flops as soon as the dancing starts. The flip-flops do nothing to flatter her figure, but she pretends not to care as she dances in a circle with the other Single Girls. Her eyes go from the New Relationship blonde who’s bumping and grinding on the dance floor, to the cute Single Guy who’s standing over at the bar… Unfortunately, he’s staring at the blonde.